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Continuing the Struggle to Conquer Denali

The Women of Indonesia’s Seven Summits Expedition of Mahitala Unpar (WISSEMU) will continue its journey to the highest peak in North America, namely Mount Denali in Alaska. The commencing ceremony was held on Friday (9/6) at the Arntz-Geisse Learning Center (PPAG) of Parahyangan Catholic University (Unpar), to be continued with a press conference at the Lobby of Unpar’s Rectorate Building on the same day.

The Srikandis (heroines) of WISSEMU consisting of Fransiska Dimitri Inkirawang (nicknamed Deedee) and Mathilda Dwi Lestari (or Mathil), departed from Soekarno-Hatta Airport on Monday (12/6) to San Fransisco, California, USA. “the ascent (will commence) on June 18. (We fly) to San Fransisco first, then Anchorage, directly to the area of ​​Mount Denali. The Summit push on will be on June 30, ” said Deedee during a press conference attended by representatives of Mahitala, the two heroines of WISSEMU, representatives from the sponsor PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk and the  Rector of Unpar, Dr. Mangadar Situmorang.

It was mentioned that various physical, mental, operational, and logistics preparations have been undertaken since last March. Exercise times are not only long-distance running, running in tracks, yoga, and swimming alone, but also bouldering, climbing, and weight training. In addition, the WISSEMU Team has held special preparations, namely sled training.

This training was ndertaken because Denali National Park Service does not have a porter service so every climber must carry their respective load of logistics distributed to the backpack on his shoulders and sled . the load of the bags on sled exercise  weighs 25 kilograms, while the sled itself tipped the scales at 16 kilograms.

The Mount Denali field is dominated by glaciers so there is a risk of falling into the crevasse . Thus, the WISSEMU Team studied crevasse rescue for helping climbers who fell into a crevasse . Crevasse is a fracture or crack in an ice sheet or glacier, but unlike the gap that forms on the pocket. Crevasse can be ‘endless’ or quite shallow, it can be wide or narrow.

“(We plan) spare days if there is bad weather and for other (reasons) until  July 7. The soonest we return (from climbing) on ​​July 3, but the latest would be July 9th. From there we return home (to Indonesia) on July 19, arriving in Indonesia on July 21 because there is a time difference of almost one day, “explained Deedee.

The WISSEMU team determines the climbing time based on the climbing season. Deedee explains that the Mount Denali climbing season ranges from May to July. The team chooses to leave in June, because if the climb is too early it is still quite cold. Meanwhile, nearing the end of the season it becomes too hot because the crevasse will open so the risk of falling into it is higher. The temperature in Mount Denali is extreme, which is at -60 degrees Celsius point and reaches -83 degrees Celsius plus gusts of wind.

The Rector advised the two heroines of WISSEMU to say prayers and firmly stick to the commitments chosen for themselves, institutions, nations, and countries.  He asked both to remain consistent in their determination to achieve the best because Unpar, BRI, and Mahitala friends can only support them from afar. ” You are the ones who do it . You guys are there. Your success will show that support is meaningful . I think, God willing, it can be done well”, he said proudly to Deedee and Mathil.

When asked about the toughest process of climbing the world’s seven summits expedition, Mathil responded that it was the exhaustive training process that must be undertaken daily, especially dividing the time with studying.

Closing the warm press conference that afternoon, Deedee added, “It’s better to sweat on the training ground, than to bleed on the battlefield. It’s one of the quotes that comes to mind. ”

Since 2014, the heroines of WISSEMU have successfully climbed five of the highest summits in the world, including Mount Carstenz Pyramid (4,884 mdpl) on 13 August 2014 in Papua, Indonesia representing the Australasian plate, Mount Elbrus (5,624 mdpl) in Russia on May 15, 2015 representing the European plate, Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 mdpl) in Tanzania on May 24, 2015 representing the African plate, Mount Aconcagua (6,962 mdpl) in Argentina on 30 January 2016 representing the South American continent, and Mount Vinson Massif (4,892 masl) on 5 January 2017, representing the Antarctic plate.